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Spotlight: Dogs Naturally Sells Products and Information on Holisitic Canine Health

Lots of businesses evolve over time, with new offerings and changing business models. That was the case for Dogs Naturally. The company started as an online magazine about canine health and eventually expanded to offer digital memberships, courses, events and physical products. You can learn more about the business’s evolution in this week’s Small Business Spotlight. What the Business Does Sells products and information related to holistic canine health. Founder Dana Scott told Small Business Trends, “The products we sell come down to one primary objective: to educate our community about natural holistic canine health. We want dogs to live happy and healthy lives! Our customers include dog owners, holistic veterinarians, and dog breeders. We sell digital memberships and event tickets to our online courses and summits. We also have an e-commerce store that offers natural supplements for dogs.” Business Niche Taking on challenging issues. Scott says, “We’re not afraid to give the other side of controversial topics such as spay/neuter, vaccination and modern veterinary medicine. We habitually challenge the status quo when it comes to veterinary care.” How the Business Got Started As an online magazine. Scott says, “Dogs Naturally Magazine began as a digital and then a print magazine. In the last 7 years, we’ve expanded our product line to include events, online learning and certification, and natural canine health products.” ? Biggest Win Building traffic over time. Scott explains, “Our biggest win was earned over time. We built a media website with a large number of helpful and in-depth posts. This generates millions of dollars worth of free traffic for us annually. We still buy traffic via ads, but owning traffic is a huge. Whoever pays the least to acquire a customer will win.” Biggest Risk Growing in new ways. Scott says, “The biggest risk we’re taking is now. We’re acquiring bolt on businesses because it’s the quickest way to grow. We’re also starting to manufacture our own products and this requires a lot of capital. But I like to keep money in the bank so we’re unlikely to acquire any debt if the new businesses don’t…

Spotlight: The Bazaar Network Connects Ecommerce Businesses with Discounts, More Benefits

Business owners can potentially gain a lot by connecting and networking with one another. For ecommerce businesses specifically, The Bazaar Network can help to facilitate those valuable connections and help entrepreneurs find the products and services they need to run their businesses. You can read about the network and the story behind it in this week’s Small Business Spotlight. What the Business Does Offers an online ecommerce network. Founder and CEO Matthew Bovey told Small Business Trends, “In a nutshell? We offer a growing benefits network for ecommerce professionals. Starting with the Shopify platform, our users are able to enter a network that provides: Discounts to all other online stores within the network High quality traffic from other Ecom professionals Exclusive discounts for professional services to help run their online business An INSANELY good affiliate program to help increase the benefits of our network.” Business Niche Providing the only affordable ecommerce network solution. Bovey says, “In all honestly, we are yet to find any network that offers such significant value for such a low price ($4 per month — with a 30 day free trial). In fact, not even just a network, but there’s no real app that does something similar.” ? How the Business Got Started After working with multiple ecommerce businesses. Bovey explains, “I was getting my toes wet with ecommerce, building websites for clients on a freelancer basis. As a point of parity, I decided that all my clients should receive exclusive discounts at all other stores we build — creating a somewhat benefits network between us. I was lying awake one night unable to sleep when I realized this concept could simply be an app and I’d be able to target a rather large market with it. A few months later, I moved back home to Aus (I was in Canada at the time) and was able to receive government small business funding. Five Months later (well over schedule..) we launched!” Biggest Win Launching successfully. Bovey says, “As someone with absolutely no app development experience, and our developers with very little ecommerce experience, I think we…

Spotlight: Introbrand Automates Animation for Unique Logo Designs

With the increasing prevalence of video marketing, your business logo might be due for an upgrade. Introbrand is a small business that has found a way to easily and quickly create animated logos and other short animations for other companies, perfect for those intros on YouTube videos or Instagram posts. You can read more about the company and where the idea for this business comes from in this week’s Small Business Spotlight. What the Business Does Offers an online logo animation platform. Founder Florian Heger told Small Business Trends, “Introbrand is an online video and logo animation maker tool for businesses and individuals. Users can easily create a YouTube intro, logo animation, video intro or outro and animated video elements based on their own logo in a few minutes. The final product is basically a downloadable video featuring their own animated logo or name in just a few seconds. These short video snippets can be used like a virtual business card for video media and should be added to any kind of video production that is publicly visible.” Business Niche Creating professional animations quickly and easily. Heger says, “At Introbrand, we offer online templates that can be customized and processed in a few clicks via our own simple browser interface. There’s no software needed, and it works fully online. All our unique logo animations, video intros and animation designs are prepared in multiple frame rates and video sizes, crafted exclusively by branding experts and professional motion graphic designers.” ? How the Business Got Started To automate the design process. Heger says, “Usually to create just a simple logo animation or motion graphics package there needs to be a motion design freelancer or animation studio hired, which is a tedious and expensive process for everybody. While I was working as a freelancer myself I spend most of the time communicating and selling my ideas in lengthy presentations. Introbrand came to fruition while trying to automate this complicated process of animation design production and the idea to make this usually costly and tedious production simple, affordable and accessible to everybody.” Biggest Win…

Spotlight: Overtok Communication Platform Multiplies Your Customer Service Channels

For small businesses, staying constantly connected with customers requires offering multiple customer service channels. Some customers prefer to voice chat. Other’s prefer video. But no matter the format, it’s important for businesses to make that communication as seamless as possible. That’s what Overtok aims to deliver. The company offers multiple communication options that work directly within a company’s site or app. Learn more about the business behind this offering in this week’s Small Business Spotlight. What the Overtok Communication Platform Does Offers a communication platform for businesses and their customers. Co-founder and CMO Guy Naor told Small Business Trends, “Made for small and medium businesses, Overtok provides a multi channel interaction platform that connects online customers with businesses via real-time chat, video calls and voice calls. Interactions take place on-site … and new touch-point spots are available to drive customized offers and call for action tools.” Naor says his company’s market is digital agencies, site builders and online directory publishers providing services to small and medium sized businesses. Business Niche Providing an all-encompassing experience, complete with insights. Naor says the company is known for its technology built to keep interactions on-site or on-app instead of requiring customers to make a phone call outside the system. This provides businesses with a better opportunity to analyze calls and web data and come up with new valuable business insights. How the Business Got Started After noticing some outdated trends. Founders Guy Naor and Barak Geller started the business after gaining years of experience in the local search and call tracking industries. Naor adds they found the process of making a ‘click to call’ on websites and apps outdated — especially when users move out to a phone dialer and abandon the digital asset. It was clear to them that if they could keep callers inside the digital asset, they provide more data and insights for the businesses they serve ? Biggest Win Creating an easy registration process. Naor says, “We felt that there were always little barriers for new users to complete 100% of the process to use our different services. The ideal…

Spotlight: Audio Den Evolved from Retail Store to Smart Home Installation Service

Small businesses, especially those in the tech industry, need to adapt with the times in order to survive. Audio Den is one business that has done just that. Originally a retail store selling cassette decks and related products, the company now specializes in smart home products and high tech AV equipment. You can read more about the company and its evolution in this week’s Small Business Spotlight. What the Business Does Installs audio, video and smart home products. Owner James Feldstein told Small Business Trends, “We are an audio, video and home automation company. That means we provide audio/video, home automation, smart home control, lighting control, home theaters, and more to homeowners who are looking for convenience, comfort, and safety. We integrate cutting-edge technology into a home that’s no more complicated to operate than pushing a few buttons on your phone. Lights, HVAC, shades, TVs, whole-home audio, and even the pool heater — all controlled from the phone that’s already in your pocket. In addition, we also operate a retail store where we display and sell home audio equipment such as speakers, amplifiers, and media streamers. Our retail store has the largest selection of turntables on Long Island, and our store staff are analog experts — a result of our roots as a HiFi store.” Business Niche Providing friendly and reliable service. Feldstein says, “We take pride in offering personalized customer service. I think that’s what has made us so successful over the last 40 years. We like to say that our customers are part of the “Audio Den Family.” Our clients depend on us not only for our technological savvy and integration skills, but also the dependability, value, guidance, and discretion we afford them. Our clients let us into their daily lives and their homes, a responsibility we take very seriously. It is a mutually beneficial relationship. We like to say that our clients are really buying us and not the equipment, which sort of just comes along for the ride. This is especially true of customers who keep doing business with us to maintain and update their home,…

Spotlight: Notejoy Introduces a New Approach to Document Collaboration for Teams

Some entrepreneurs jump right into business ownership. But others hone their skills by working for larger companies, where they learn the lessons that help them shape their business ideas. The latter was true for the founders of Notejoy. Formerly executives at LinkedIn and SurveyMonkey, they took those experiences with them as they built their new product. Learn more about Notejoy and its founders in this week’s Small Business Spotlight. What the Business Does Offers an app for team collaboration. Founder and COO Ada Chen Rekhi told Small Business Trends, “Notejoy is a collaborative notes app for teams. It helps you get your most important work out of the noise of email and Slack and into a fast and focused workspace. Notejoy is a software application that’s available across web, desktop, and mobile devices.” Business Niche Offering a note app that’s specifically for teams. Chen Rekhi says, “There are a LOT of note-taking apps out there, but many of them are focused on individuals. We’re solidly focused on building a fast and beautiful experience for teams to collaborate on their ideas and work in real-time.” ? How the Business Got Started Out of an understanding of corporate difficulties. Chen Rekhi explains, “We made the decision to leave our corporate jobs and start Notejoy because we realized from our work experiences that today’s collaboration tools have been failing us. People absolutely hate creating docs and wikis, because it’s hard, so instead they end up sending emails or chatting in hallways, and so much knowledge and value gets lost. Employees are always recreating the wheel because they can’t access prior work. As founders, we’d both spent a lot of time thinking about how to improve the productivity of our apps and tackling this as the next project was the obvious next step.” Biggest Win Integrating the app with Trello. Chen Rekhi says, “A lot of businesses small and large use Trello to manage their to-do lists, so making it easy to attach Notejoy to Trello tasks was a huge win for our users as well as us. We were able to get in…

Spotlight: HigherGround Wants Small Businesses to Stop Worrying about IT

For businesses that need help with IT but don’t have the resources to hire a professional full time, a managed service provider can help. HigherGround Managed Services is one such service provider. The company offers a full-service experience and consulting to meet the needs of their clients around the Chicago area. Read more about the company and its offerings in this week’s Small Business Spotlight. What the Business Does Offers managed IT solutions to small and medium sizedbusinesses in the Chicago area. CEO Brian Brammeier told Small Business Trends, “HigherGround is a full-service IT and consulting firm that partners with entrepreneurs and leaders of small to medium-sized organizations in the greater Chicago area — ensuring they spend more time managing their core businesses and less time worrying about their IT infrastructures. HigherGround provides managed IT services (MSP), managed security (MSSP), IT staffing including fractional CIOs and CTOs, application development consulting and management, and IT disconnect/reconnect for corporate moves and logistics.” Business Niche Helping companies reach their potential through IT. Brammeier says, “HigherGround’s tagline is “We deliver on the promises that other IT firms make.” HigherGround helps companies that are growing fast use technology to fuel their growth, as well as companies that are struggling with growth and know tech is a limiting factor.” How the Business Got Started Because of a love of tinkering with computers. Brammeier began taking computers apart decades ago, then realized he needed to learn how to put them back together. After honing his skills, he realized he could actually charge for his services. He originally started the company called Brammeier Computer Services in the late 90’s out of his bedroom in his parents’ house and then his dorm room. In 2015, he made the leap to the company’s current office and changed the name to HigherGround. Biggest Win Creating a successful hiring plan. Brammeier says, “This has helped provide clients with consistent and above-and-beyond service from people who fit our culture.” Biggest Risk Separating from a key team member who wasn’t a good fit. Brammeier explains, “This posed a risk since, separating HigherGround from this…

Spotlight: Storelli Provides Protective Products for Soccer Players

Sports related injuries can lead to potentially serious damage. But one company, Storelli, is dedicated to finding ways to protect against those injuries effectively. The company has developed a solution that’s been clinically tested to protect against head injuries in soccer. You can read more about the company and its products below in this week’s Small Business Spotlight. What the Business Does Provides head guards and other protective products for soccer players. Founder Claudio Storelli told Small Business Trends, “Storelli manufactures protective soccer gear for a variety of purposes. Our ExoShield Head Guard was just ranked by Virginia Tech as the top soccer headguard in the market, with an estimated decrease in concussions of 84%. We created the Head Guard because head injuries in soccer are a serious problem- the rate of concussions in soccer is second only to American football and lacrosse, with girls being 2x at risk vs. boys. However, the world of soccer is at a loss to find a solution- recently US Soccer prohibited heading the ball below certain age groups and in specific circumstances, but that’s only a partial solution. We believe that in addition to education (e.g., well defined concussions protocols), proper training and rules, equipment can play an important role in reducing risks. So we set out to create a soccer protective headband that would greatly reduce the impact due to body-to-head collisions, headers and impact with the pitch or the goal.” Business Niche Industry leading protection couple with elegant design. Storelli says, “Storelli makes protection that works and players are excited to wear because it makes them feel like super-heroes.” How the Business Got Started After realizing the prevalence of sports injuries. Storelli explains, “Born and raised in Italy, I came to the US to study English at the age of 15. I was “adopted” by a family in Dayton, Ohio and was supposed to stay 10 months and go back. 10 months later I had secured a college soccer scholarship and went straight to university at 16, graduating from Stanford by age 20. After that I went to Columbia Law School,…

Spotlight: Fireball Approves Aims to Protect Online Buyers from Scams

The sharing economy and online selling platforms have brought about many new opportunities for entrepreneurs and consumers. But it has also led to new opportunities for scammers. Sometimes, spotting a scam can be difficult for an individual. That’s where Fireball Approves comes in. The company’s owner was once almost a scam victim herself. And the experience led her to want to start a business that could provide guidance and protection to other buyers. Learn more about the company and the story behind it in this week’s Small Business Spotlight. What the Business Does Confirms the identity of product advertisers to cut down on the risk for scams. Owner Tammy Sorrento told Small Business Trends, “Fireball Approves will confirm the identity of the advertiser of a specific listing of interest. Examples of listings we verify are: property rentals (short term and long term including homes, apartments, townhouses, condos, timeshares, etc., motor vehicle purchases (cars, trucks, rvs, boats, motorcycles).” In addition, the company provides services for property accreditation. Sorrento says, “We will vouch for property owners and/or leasing agents/authorized contacts who pass our robust vetting, which includes: proof of property ownership, positive Identification, phone and email.” Business Niche Providing affordable service. The company just charges $19 to verify any listing, and there are no additional service charges or commissions taken off listings. Additionally, all services are currently free for a limited time. Sorrento adds, “We refuse to make our customers pay service fees.” ? How the Business Got Started After realizing just how easy it is for customers to get scammed. Sorrento says, “After a personal experience of ALMOST getting scammed when renting a vacation home online, we decided to fight back!” Biggest Win Getting some early press coverage. Sorrenty says that the team’s first news interview with WJXT JAX was a major win early on in the company’s life. ? How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000 Rent an office. Currently, the business is a lean operation with two team members. So Sorrento says she’d like to rent an office space to perform daily activities. * * * * * Find out…

Spotlight: CHAT South Florida Finds Unique Niche with Cultural Tourism

There are plenty of guided tour companies out there. But not all of them dive into the rich cultural heritage of the area. But the Cultural Heritage Alliance for Tourism, or CHAT South Florida, aims to provide a unique experience that dives into some of the lesser known locales throughout the Miami area. Read more about the company in this week’s Small Business Spotlight. What the Business Does Offers cultural tours in South Florida communities. CHAT President Stephanie M. Jones told Small Business Trends, “CHAT provides rich cultural and heritage bus and walking tours and tastings that allow locals, domestic and international tourists off the beaten path experiences. Our tours highlight diverse cultures including African American, Haitian, Bahamian and Cuban that immerses our tour guests into the rich culture of heritage neighborhoods allowing them to interactive with local folks, taste authentic foods and drinks, listen and dance to jazz & Caribbean music and shop with local vendors and small businesses and attractions such as museums, galleries, book stores, restaurants and bars, and cigar shops. Our tours guests gain a better understanding and appreciation of the diverse cultures and history of inner-city neighborhoods.” Business Niche Providing authentic experiences from those immersed in the culture. Jones says, “CHAT is unique in the South Florida market because we are the only African American tour operator providing cultural and heritage tour experiences. CHAT uses local historians, hires and trains local residents as our community tour guides thus creating job opportunities. We are also known for providing high quality signature tours and exceptional customer service.” ? How the Business Got Started As a way to include more cultures in tourism activities in the area. Jones started CHAT in 2016 to partner with local small businesses and attractions in heritage neighborhoods and multicultural communities as a way to curate cultural and heritage tours that drive locals, visitors and tourism dollars to their businesses and communities. Biggest Win Partnering with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. Jones says, “As a result of this partnership, many other key partnerships have been formed throughout South Florida.The Broward…

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